HC Deb 06 May 1941 vol 371 cc683-4
30. Mr. A. Edwards

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is prepared to prohibit the use of labour and materials for the manufacture of luxuries or semi-luxuries?

Mr. Lyttelton

The release of raw material for the manufacture of luxuries and semi-luxuries for home civil consumption is not allowed in a great number of cases and is severely restricted in many others. I am circulating in the Official Report a statement giving examples of the arrangements made for some industries by the Board of Trade and the Ministry of Supply. In addition, the sale of a wide range of consumers' goods is, as the hon. Member will be aware, restricted under the Limitation of Supplies Orders. The possibility of further restrictions is constantly under review. As regards labour, the policy adopted in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour and National Service is to direct labour to other work as and when it is released by these measures, rather than to prohibit its employment, a course which would in some cases lead to unnecessary periods of unemployment.

Mr. Hely-Hutchinson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the results of the large increase in spending power is a rapid increase in the manufacture and sale of hot-water bottles, and is he prepared to say that they are a luxury?

Mr. Lyttelton

My hon. Friend never had cold feet in the last war, and I do not anticipate-that he will in this war.

Sir Joseph Lamb

In view of the loss of life that is taking place in bringing

supplies to this country, will my right hon. Friend see that there is a further curtailment of those things which are not necessary for the maintenance of the country and the prosecution of the war?

Mr. Lyttelton

I have said that import licensing is very rigorous.

Following is the statement:

(1) Steel is not released for the manufacture of the following articles for home civil consumption: Bathroom fittings, sporting guns, metal windows, springs for upholstery and bedding, spring mattresses, metal bedsteads, musical instruments and pianos, hearth furniture, toys, sports equipment, umbrella components, metal furniture (certain articles), curtain rods of wire, lawn mowers, carpet sweepers, hand wringers, buttons, buckles and slides (except hair slides and harness buckles).

(2) Copper and brass are no longer released for home civil consumption for internal and external decorative and architectural metal work, furniture and fittings for curtains, doors, bedsteads, pictures, stairs, windows and hearths, pot scourers and buckets, jewellery boxes, ash trays, mirror and photograph frames, bird cages, handbag frames, torch cases and cigarette cases, electro plate ware and certain electrical accessories.

(3) Flax and raw silk are not released by the Ministry of Supply for manufacture for home trade except for essential purposes.

(4) The Ministry of Supply are not re leasing any new base paper for the manufacture of wallpaper for the home market whilst under the Control of Paper No. 32 Order (S.R. & O. 1941, No. 528), the production of paper serviettes, d'oyleys, handkerchiefs, facial tissues, tablecloths, cups, saucers, plates, festoons, decorations and confetti is prohibited. There are also restrictions on the production of posters, circulars, coupons, insets to periodicals and newspapers, wrapping paper and wrappers such as cartons. Picture postcards, greeting cards, calendars, crackers, menus and programmes, compliment slips and drip mats may not be made except from specially cut or prepared paper already in stock or in some cases from paper made wholly from waste paper or straw or rags.